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Thread: almost 100 years since Italy betrays Germany and Austria-Hungary

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    This is a what if discussion.
    Hmmmm, a bit like one of those Hollywood movies then, where they get to rewrite history ;-)
    But once Romania jumped in Germany's food situation went from merely bad, where the biggest problem was distribution to worse when food actually became scarce
    So Germany and AH virtually Annexing the Ukraine didn't alleviate food supplies either???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Hmmmm, a bit like one of those Hollywood movies then, where they get to rewrite history ;-)

    So Germany and AH virtually Annexing the Ukraine didn't alleviate food supplies either???
    Don't think Ukraine had much to give. Czarist authorities drafted the men and appropriated the as much as 68% of the harvest in 1917 so there was little labor to work the farms and little incentive to work where there was labor. Plus the transport nets lead to the interior, not to Germany, there was a shortage of horses etc. The Ukraine never fullfilled its obligations in the Treaty of Brest. Romania exported 2.6 million metric tons of grain to the CP in 1916. Which is almost as much as the Ukraine shipped to the Soviets per year before the Holodomor. In 1917 this dried up and Germany had already used up its reserves by the Turnip Winter and her harvest of potatoes and cereals had collpased. Add in poor distribution and an Allied blockade that had already cut food imports by 50%. It was more than Germany could bear. It was even worse in AH outside of Hungary. The Hungarians refused to export to the rest of the empire. Famine was widespread in the major cities of the empire.

    The lack of food in the CP is a primary reason for their eventual defeat. They did not have an America to supplement up to 80% of their calorie requirements. In 1917 an average German on the Home front got just 1000c a day, less than half the pre-war total. You can't win a war if you are starving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Don't think Ukraine had much to give. Czarist authorities drafted the men and appropriated the as much as 68% of the harvest in 1917 so there was little labor to work the farms and little incentive to work where there was labor. Plus the transport nets lead to the interior, not to Germany, there was a shortage of horses etc. The Ukraine never fullfilled its obligations in the Treaty of Brest. Romania exported 2.6 million metric tons of grain to the CP in 1916. Which is almost as much as the Ukraine shipped to the Soviets per year before the Holodomor. In 1917 this dried up and Germany had already used up its reserves by the Turnip Winter and her harvest of potatoes and cereals had collpased. Add in poor distribution and an Allied blockade that had already cut food imports by 50%. It was more than Germany could bear. It was even worse in AH outside of Hungary. The Hungarians refused to export to the rest of the empire. Famine was widespread in the major cities of the empire.

    The lack of food in the CP is a primary reason for their eventual defeat. They did not have an America to supplement up to 80% of their calorie requirements. In 1917 an average German on the Home front got just 1000c a day, less than half the pre-war total. You can't win a war if you are starving.
    So had they had more time, new infrastructure could have cured Germany's problem eventually. Are there figures for the 1918 harvest or was the situation too bleak to co-ordinate them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    The Ukraine never fullfilled its obligations in the Treaty of Brest. Romania exported 2.6 million metric tons of grain to the CP in 1916. Which is almost as much as the Ukraine shipped to the Soviets per year before the Holodomor.
    Just for scale in comparison to those figures, the "bread peace" (as it was apparently colloquially called in Austria) obligated Ukraine to export 982,000 tons of grain, 50,000 tons of cattle and 400 million eggs to the CP until July 31st 1918. They delivered 147,000 tons of grain until that date and another 120,000 tons until November 1918.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    In 1917 an average German on the Home front got just 1000c a day, less than half the pre-war total. You can't win a war if you are starving.
    The primary problem was the bad potato harvest of autumn 1916, caused by bad weather; it was about half the usual. The government confiscated the entire potato and turnip harvest in December 1916 and distributed them on ration cards - the rationing in early 1917 cut your potato ration in half compared to 1916. Turnips were previously only used for animal feed and now used as surrogate food to stretch out meals. Since the potato harvest of autumn 1917 wasn't really any better for other reasons this did also continue.

    While this was ridiculed in the population - calling it the "Turnip Winter" (applied to 16/17, 17/18, 18/19...) and the turnip the "Hindenburg Tuber" - realistically it wasn't quite starving at that point - and when people pulled the turnip-based recipes back out in WW2 and after WW2 for the same situation, they had to add in further surrogates such as sawdust for some other stuff in the recipes.

    The 1000kcal figure is just for what you got on ration cards btw, and were just an average figure. The actual rations depended heavily on where you lived since the municipalities did the final distribution; typical for early 1917 as rations per week were around 3-4 pounds of potatoes, 2 pounds of turnips, 3-4 pounds of bread and half a pound of meat for the main staples. Other vegetables were virtually unavailable to the general population for cost reason. Quite often the municipalities would buy e.g. meat in large quantities though for resale to their population, and quite often this was precisely what the CP-allied nations delivered. This came on top of the ration cards at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post


    The primary problem was the bad potato harvest of autumn 1916, caused by bad weather; it was about half the usual.
    That was the straw that broke the camels back. In 1913 Germany imported 40% of her food. The war cut much of this off and at least until 1916 she actually had more mouths too feed; POW labor added minus battlefield dead. By Nov 1918, Germany's overall population requiring feeding had dropped by 1.6 million. The loss of imports from blockade, horses and fertilizer from farms and a piss poor distribution system undermined the political stability of the Reich. Add in the failure of the Spring Offensive and then the crushing allied 100 days offensive and the writing was clear. Regimes can rarely survive food insecurity. Add in an unstoppable impending invasion and no one can survive as leader.

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